There's an amazing story I've been wanting to share. This account is entirely true and without embellishment.
This involves a famous and distinguished English actor. But it is not right for me to disclose his name so, to protect his privacy, I am going to call him Lionel Roebuck.
I organised a charity book launch for Unimagined in March. I was giving away copies, in exchange for direct donations to The Shooting Star Children's Hospice. I invited a number of celebrities to attend. One of those invited was Lionel Roebuck. I had never met him, but I wrote to him c/o his agency.
Monday 19 Feb
A handwritten letter arrived from Lionel Roebuck to say that he cannot make it to the charity book launch, and he enclosed a cheque for £50 to The Shooting Star Children's Hospice. He also wrote that he was looking forward to reading the book and would buy a copy 'the next time I'm in town'.
Tuesday 20 Feb
I mailed him a copy of Unimagined, with an inscription:
Thank you for decades of fine acting.
Wednesday 21 Feb
At lunchtime, I went out of the office onto Strand. I was going to the bank (which I rarely do, because I never have anything to pay in). As usual, I was deep in thought, and I walked right past the HSBC – which was actually closed and boarded up for refurbishment. Eventually I looked up, thinking ‘Where’s the bank?’, and a man walking directly towards me caught my eye. He looked just like Lionel Roebuck. I ascertained – on close scrutiny – that this was because he actually was Lionel Roebuck. I was filled with a mixture of uncomprehending disbelief and exuberant utter joy.
I stepped into his path, thrust out my hand, introduced myself and thanked him for the cheque. He only hesitated for a second (‘Who is this lunatic?’), before he made all the connections. He said that he was sorry that he could not make it to the book launch, and he was just going to buy a copy of the book. I told him I had mailed it to him already, and it would right now be at his agency in Piccadilly. I thanked him again, shook his hand again, and walked on – walking on air. (Eventually I realized that I must already have passed the bank, but I wasn't really thinking coherently at this point).
This incident, this wonderful synchronicity, filled me with joy. It was a reminder that there is something beyond the material reality of our five senses, and I am very grateful for the reminder.